We offer the following two degree programs only:
The Master's degree at Princeton is a two year, full-time program. All admitted students will initially be enrolled in the Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.), thesis-required track. In the spring of year 1, as part of readmission, all students will be given the option to switch to the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.), non-thesis track. Students opting to remain on the M.S.E. track must have a confirmed research advisor and should also have a preliminary thesis proposal. Switching tracks will be permitted through January of year 2.
All coursework must be taken for a grade. A minimum of 4 courses must be taken in year 1. If, due to scheduling conflicts,this is not possible, approval by the Director of Graduate Studies is required. In no event will time to degree be extended beyond two years.
Funding is normally in the form of teaching assistantships covering the four semesters of the program. Non-native English speakers must have a TOEFL speak score of 28 or beter to be considered for a teaching assistantship. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may opt to apply as self-funded students. Summer funding for M.S.E. candidates in the form of a research assistantship may be offered at the advisor's discretion.
Students wishing to continue on for a Ph.D. should apply through the normal application process during the fall of their second year of study.
The M.S.E. program is a two year, full-time program of coursework plus submission of an original thesis. Candidates choose a subarea of computer science on which to focus by taking appropriate courses, and writing a thesis under the direction of an advisor. Course requirements are fulfilled by taking six courses for a grade, at least three of which must be 500-level courses. The other eligible courses are 318, 320, 326, 375, or any 400-level course. Relevant courses from outside the department may be taken with advisor's consent. Candidates must maintain a B average, with no more than one C allowed. In order to be readmitted for a second year, candidates must have a confirmed thesis advisor and preliminary thesis proposal by the end of the first year.
In addition to satisfactory completion of coursework, candidates must prepare and submit an original thesis as well as present a public seminar on the research. The thesis will be reviewed and graded by your advisor plus one additional reader from the Princeton faculty. If the reader is from outside the Computer Science Department, approval by the Director of Graduate Studies is required. The public seminar is an ungraded 20 minute talk, followed by a 10 minute question session, given in the spring of year 2. This will allow your advisor and reader to give preliminary feedback prior to submission of the final thesis.
The written thesis should be a research paper of "scholarly quality" -- making a novel contribution to scholarship in the field. The thesis should motivate the chosen research problem, evaluate the proposed solution (e.g., via analysis, measurement, simulation, or prototype implementation), and compare the approach to the related work in the field. While there is no specific length requirement, a reasonable target is a typical conference paper (e.g., 10-15 pages in two-column format or 20-40 pages in single-column, double spaced format). Due date will be Dean's Date in the spring term of year 2. After being graded, three copies of the final version must be submitted to the Department: one bound copy, following the formatting guidelines from Mudd Library, one unbound hard-copy, and the third as a .pdf file.
Candidates electing to switch to the M.Eng degree track must complete a total of eight courses over two years, and are not required to submit a thesis. Three of the eight must be 500-level, and the additional courses may be chosen from 318, 320, 326, 375, or any 400-level course. Relevant courses from outside the department may be taken with advisor's consent. All courses must be taken for a grade. Candidates must maintain a B average, with no more than one C allowed.
The departmental Ph.D. program complies with the regulations of the Graduate School. This is a full-time program only. In addition to the information contained on this website, the Graduate School Catalog should be reviewed by all prospective applicants. This program is aimed at Ph.D. research and training students for careers in research and teaching.
All non-native English speakers who have not received a university-level degree from a U.S. college or university must pass the University's mandatory English Language Program by the end of their first year of study. Incoming students will be tested upon arrival, and may be required to participate in further English study. Students who do not pass by the end of their first year will not be readmitted.
Incoming students are assigned a first year academic advisor, who may or may not become their research advisor. During their first year students are expected to talk with faculty and secure a research advisor by the end of the academic year.
Teaching experience is considered to be a significant part of graduate education. All Ph.D. candidates are required to assist with course instruction for the equivalent of two terms.
All students must fulfill the programming and competency requirements.
The general examination, taken during year 2, consists of a research seminar prepared under the supervision of a faculty member, followed by an in-depth oral examination on the contents of the seminar and the associated general area of research. Original research results do not have to be presented, but problems whose solution may lead to a thesis should be discussed. In many cases, the student's thesis is in the same area as the research seminar, but this is not required.
A final public oral examination (FPO) is required of all Ph.D. candidates. The FPO is taken after the candidate's dissertation has been accepted, and is primarily a defense of the dissertation. In preparation for the FPO, a preliminary FPO (preFPO) is held six months before the expected completion date. It covers results to date and planned research, and serves as a preliminary critique of the proposed dissertation.